Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Indian State failed to stop the demolition of Babri Masjid : K N Panikkar

The history of the Mandir-Masjid dispute during the post-Independence period is but a record of aggression by Hindu communal forces, and a series of compromises and reconciliation bids by the Central government led by the Indian National Congress, particularly under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

In 1949, Hindu communal forces conducted a seven-day continuous recitation of Ramcharitamanas, which proved to be the precursor to the installation of an idol of Ram Lalla in the mosque. The fact that they got away with the defiance of the state not only emboldened them to indulge in further aggression, leading ultimately to the demolition of the Masjid. During this period, the Sangh Parivar not only organised a series of agitations to mobilise Hindus in the name of Ram but also made preparations for the construction of the temple. It assiduously built up a tempo of aggression, with Uma Bharti and Rithambara leading the charge. The finale of this carefully constructed aggression was the Rath Yatra led by Lal Krishna Advani 20 years ago, which finally led to the demolition of the Masjid in 1992. 
The demolition was a criminal act according to the laws of the country, as the mosque was a 400-year-old historical monument that the state was committed to protect.
 While the Hindu communal forces were engaged in a progressive assault, the state was unable to solve its own political dilemma. The Congress which led the government during this period was committed to secularism in principle, but the party realised that it was not possible to survive without the electoral support of Hindus. As a consequence, the party indulged in secular rhetoric, but followed communal politics in practice. It pursued what has now come to be termed ‘soft Hindutva'. Through this means it hoped to outsmart the Hindu communal forces.

The leader who initiated this disastrous policy was Rajiv Gandhi. He ordered the opening of the locks of the Masjid, thereby permitting Hindus to perform puja inside. He did this in order to steal the thunder from the Hindu communal forces. His successor-Prime Minister pursued the policy of compromise much more vigorously, and ‘officially arranged' the shilanyas of the temple. The Congress thus became an appendage of communal forces; that is what emboldened a mob to demolish the Masjid, thus inflicting a major blow on democracy and secularism.
Decisive factor

The failure of the Indian state was a most decisive factor behind the act of demolition. As is evident from the account given later by Narasimha Rao, it is clear that the state failed to discharge its duty of protecting the monument. It failed to prevent Mr. Advani's Rath Yatra, which led to the loss of several lives: everybody knew it would have disastrous consequences. Even after the demolition, the construction of a temporary temple was not stopped. At least now the state can rectify its mistakes by charting out a bold and innovative step in line with the principles of secularism.

From K N Panikkar's article in The Hindu. More Here.

Arjun Sengupta is no more

Arjun Sengupta is no more. He was the famous economist who showed to the world that India is a poor country. A country where a staggering 394.6 million workers (86 per cent of the working population) belong to the unorganised sector and work under “utterly deplorable” conditions with “extremely few livelihood options.” A country where an overwhelming 79 per cent of workers in the unorganised sector live with an income of less than Rs. 20 a day.

He was the one who chaired the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS). This commission released its report in 2007. And the findings were shocking indeed. But they failed to stir the conscience of the top echelons of this great country.

The following are some of the startling findings of the report.

  • According to the report 88 per cent of the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheduled Castes, 80 per cent of the Other Backward Classes and 85 per cent of Muslims belong to the category of “poor and vulnerable,” who earn less than Rs. 20 a day.
  • In 2004-05, a total of 836 million (77 per cent) had an income below Rs. 20 a day.
  • Households of the small and marginal farmers account for 84 per cent and are forced to spend more than they earn and are under debt, while 90 per cent of agricultural labour households are landless or have less than one hectare of holding.
  • The conditions in the non-agricultural sectors are no better with 21 to 46 per cent of men and 57 to 83 per cent of women being employed as casual workers, who get less than minimum wages.
  • As per the survey, the latest trends indicate that agriculture is getting feminised with 73 per cent women being associated with it compared to 52 per cent men.

The NCEUS attributes the plight of the unorganised workers to a lack of comprehensive and appropriate legislation and the absence of targeted programmes.

Where laws exist, the Commission finds their implementation inadequate. Also, they are seldom focussed on unorganised workers.
Releasing the report, NCEUS Chairman Arjun Sengupta had said the panel had recommended a Rs. 45,000-crore action plan for the overall improvement of the unorganised sector.
What happened to its recommendation? Whether the action plan was taken seriously? Nobody knows. Nobody cares.

The nation has far more serious issues at hand. CWG games tops the list.

More here, here and here. Download the pdf version of the full report here.

Majority of the people of Andhra Pradesh support Naxalites : TOI survey

India's biggest internal security threat, as the Prime Minister famously described it, may be worse than you thought. That's because even in Andhra Pradesh, where the battle against the Maoists has apparently been won, it turns out that the government is losing the battle for the minds and hearts of the people.

It's a debate that's been raging within the Congress, and outside it. Should the government adopt a largely law-and-order attitude towards the Maoists and deal with them like criminals or should the focus be more on cutting the ground from under their feet through a development agenda that wins over the population of the affected areas?

An exclusive survey of the once Maoist-dominated districts of the Telengana region by IMRB, well-known market research organisation, for The Times of India has found that while attitudes towards the rebels are ambivalent, the condemnation of the government and its means of tackling the problem is quite clear.

The findings raise disturbing questions about whether focusing largely on the policing aspects of the problem may be a flawed strategy in the long run. They also throw up another poser: Has the battle in AP truly been won or can the Maoists stage a comeback in a few years?

Tied to this is the question of how the Maoists are viewed by the populace of these parts. Are they perceived essentially as a bloodthirsty, extortionist bunch or as rebels standing up for people's rights?

TOI decided to do an opinion poll of the affected areas to find out. The problem, however, was that this was a region where pollsters found very difficult to enter. We finally decided to conduct the survey in those areas of Andhra Pradesh which were till not too long ago strongholds of the Naxalites but where their activities have been checked. The survey was conducted, therefore, in five districts of the Telengana region Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam. These districts were chosen not only because they were till recently severely Naxal-affected, but also because of their proximity to current hotbeds in Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.

To tap into the mood of the aam admi in these areas, the survey was restricted to the not so well off socio-economic categories, SEC B and SEC C and to men and women between the ages of 25 and 50. What we found has come as an eye-opener for us and should be worrying for everybody. The state may have won the battle of the guns, but the Maoists are clearly ahead in the perception game. This is particularly true in the districts of Warangal and Nizamabad as the accompanying charts show only too clearly.
The root cause of the disaffection is the overwhelming feeling of neglect of the areas by the government. About two-thirds expressed this view and in Warangal the figure was as high as 81%. That, you might say, is hardly alarming. Similar figures would probably be thrown up anywhere in India. True. But when two-thirds also say that the Maoists are right in choosing the methods they have to highlight the neglect, it is difficult to dismiss it as normal.
Perhaps the most revealing answers are in response to questions on whether the Maoists — still better known as Naxalites in this belt — were good or bad for the region and whether their defeat by the AP police has made matters better or worse.

Almost 60% said the Naxalites were good for the area and only 34% felt life had improved since they were beaten back. As for whether exploitation has increased after the Naxalite influence waned, 48% said it had against 38% who said it hadn't, the rest offering no opinion.
Equally importantly, 50% of the respondents felt the Naxalites had forced the government to focus on development work in the affected areas. What these responses show is just how negative the perception of the government is in these parts.
That the people here are not entirely comfortable with Naxalite methods is also quite clear. Even a question on what explained their strength in these parts showed that very few attributed it to popularity alone, a majority saying either that it was due to fear or that it was a combination of approval and fear. That despite this ambivalence there is a sympathetic view of the Naxals only betrays the people's desperate search for any means to shake shaking up the state.

The government may say, and with some justification, that the Maoists represent the biggest threat to India's internal security, but what this poll shows is that the aam admi in these parts views government apathy as the biggest threat to his wellbeing.

The towns in which the poll was conducted were Kamareddy in Nizamabad district, Gudi Hathnoor in Adilabad, Sirsilla in Karimnagar, Mahbubabad in Warangal and Palwancha in Khammam. A total of 521 people were polled in these five towns, a statistically robust sample size. 
From a report in Times of India. More Here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who is Shahryar?

Q: Who is Shahryar?
Shahryar is the famous Urdu poet from India who has been conferred with the Jnanpith, India's topmost award in the field of literature.

Q: Is Shahryar his real name?
No. His real name is Kunwar Akhlaq Mohammed Khan.

Q: How old is he?
He is 74. He was born on June 16, 1936.

Q: His birthplace?
Anwala village in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.

Q: Aligarh Muslim University alumni are ecstatic at the honor given to him. Was he associated with the university? In what way?
Shahryar is a quintessential AMU alumnus. He was associated with the university's Urdu department for several years and served as lecturer, reader, professor and department chairman. He retired from active service in 1996. It is also worth noting that he spent his formative years at AMU City High School and also completed his graduate studies at AMU. Perhaps his greatest assignment has been editorship of "Fikr-o-Nazar", the university's prestigious research publication. He was also member-in-charge of the university's Public Relations Office for some time.

Q: Is Jnanpith his first award?
No. He got the Sahitya Akademy Award in 1987 for his anthology of Urdu poetry titled, "Khwab Ka Dar Band Hai".

Q: Is he the first Urdu litterateur to get the Jnanpith?
No. He is the fourth. Firaq Gorakhpuri (1969), Qurratulain Haider (1989) and Ali Sardar Jafri (1997) were the previous recipients of the award.

Q: Your favorite couplets from Shahryar?
These two from his ghazal "Zindagi Jaisi Tamanna Thi Nahin Kuch Kam Hai" are my favorite. He read this ghazal at the mushaira in Jeddah on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010, a day before the Jnanpith award was announced. This ghazal is perhaps closest to Shahryar's heart as well because he recites this one at all poetry gatherings. He did recite this in the 2005 Jeddah mushaira as well.

Ghar Ki Taameer Tasawwur Hi Me Ho Sakti Hai
Apne Naqshe Ke Mutaabiq Ye Zameen Kuch Kam Hai

Bichde Logon Se Mulaqaat Kabhi Phir Hogi
Dil Me Ummeed To Kaafi Hai Yaqeen Kuch Kam Hai

Q: What is so great about Shahryar's poetry?
I put that question to Hifzur Rahman, the Riyadh-based Indian diplomat, who is himself a connoisseur of Urdu poetry and literature. This is what he has to say: "Shahryar's greatest contribution is that he refused to break the mold of ghazal. What he did was to add a dash of modernity to this popular genre without tampering with its traditional structure. This is a particularly tough task, but not for Shahryar. He came out with some of the best lines in Urdu poetry."

From Siraj Wahab's post in Notes from Arabia. More Here

Indian way of organising BIG, BIG events

India was awarded the rights to host the CWG seven years ago. The total cost is now estimated to run over $ 6 billion. Some Indians saw a golden opportunity to make a fast buck. Allegations of corruption first appeared in the press about 2 months ago. To save face the Government decided to look into allegations after completion of the games. Will the government be impartial in conducting the enquiry? A parliamentary committee of political parties should go into all aspects of the corruption. The enquiry should be timely and those responsible for blatant corruption should be sent to jail. Will the press pursue the alleged corruption charges with vigor?

The collapse of a foot bridge connecting the parking lot to the Nehru stadium and the damage to the canopy adjoining the stadium have caused injuries to several construction workers and police officers. These two incidents should be seen as symptomatic of what has gone wrong in public sector construction. In its eagerness to make a tidy profit, construction companies cut corners. Behind such shoddy work is rampant corruption that prevails in the industry. Organizers perhaps get 10% of the cut for turning a blind eye. Will criminal charges be brought against the construction company for causing serious injury to the people and giving a bad name to the country? Now why should construction companies employ child labor? Why did Organizing Committeee Chairman, Suresh Kalmadi remain silent when such practices were taking place? Westen countries see child labor with disdain.

A boy plays with his toy in front of the Games Village
Indian authorities had seven years to prepare for the games. When India was awarded the games for 2010, some Indians had warned that the country was not ready to host such a major event. The Government has to take full responsibily for the inordinate delay in completing the infrastructure. If the Prime Minister had chaired a committee to assess the progress of the construction and met every three months things would have been different. Certainly there was a steady lack of Central government leadership even as the Government poured in billions of dollars.

A major issue that upset many participating countries was the lack of proper hygiene in the athletes village. Westerners generally see Indian cities as filty and lacking in basic amenities. These games would have been a golden opportunity for the government to win the hearts and minds of the athletes and the fans from different countries. Basic hygiene is something that the Indians don’t like to talk about. Politicians rarely mention hygiene and population control. Perhaps this a time for Indians to take a pledge to keep their cities, towns and villages clean. This effort should start at the primary school. For this effort to succeed the elected politicians from the Panchayat to Parliament should take the lead.

When fear grips people, reasoning power vanishes rapidly. Fear of a terror attack, fear of dengue fever and fear of substandard living conditions at the Games village quickly spread throughout world like a wild fire. In a country where threat perception remains high, is it prudent to spend large amount of money on security? Many top athletes from different countries have backed out at the last minute for the reasons mentioned above.

From Girish Bhaskar's column in BHASKAR. More Here

Monday, September 27, 2010

USA to follow USSR's fate

America is waiting for its Mikhail Gorbachev. Will it learn the Afghan lesson from USSR? 

India is a corporate, Hindu State : Arundhati Roy

 Arundhati Roy: However, I believe that the Indian state has abdicated its responsibility to the people. I believe that. I believe that when a state is no longer bound, neither legally nor morally by the Indian Constitution, either we should rephrase the preamble of the Indian Constitution which says...
Karan Thapar: Or?
Arundhati Roy: Which says we are a sovereign, democratic, secular republic. We should rephrase it and say we are a corporate, Hindu, satellite state.
Karan Thapar: Or?
Arundhati Roy: Or we have to have a government which respects the Constitution or we change the Constitution.
From Arundhati Roy's blunt comment in her interview in CNN-IBN. More Here.

"I'll be happy if the Games are spoiled" : Mani Shankar Aiyar

Before the Commonwealth Games have even begun, India has gone through an unusually frank display of public soul-searching about its failure to live up to its own hype. India's biggest newspapers and television stations — not just the left-leaning ones — have been competing to top each other with scoops about cost overruns, safety violations and the use of child labor at Games sites. The front page of the Hindustan Times recently featured a photograph of three barefoot, barely clothed construction workers, two of them dangling a third upside down by his legs into a pit. The wry caption: "Aspiring superpower at work."
Indian politicians have been pleading for New Delhi's residents to come together and put on a good show for the world. But the city is having none of it. A band of local graffiti artists have taken to the streets, tagging construction sites with slogans like "I hope the Games are a disaster." Instead of buying tickets to the sporting events, families who can afford it are booking "Commonwealth Games escape" packages out of town. Even some members of Parliament are breaking ranks. Mani Shankar Aiyar, a former Sports Minister, said outside Parliament that the $7.3 billion spent for the Games (including the cost for the city's new airport terminal) should have been better utilized elsewhere. "I'll be happy if the Games are spoiled," he said.
The athletes who do show up will find a city that has been transformed by the Games in an unexpected way. New Delhi's rich and poor are finally united, if only in their hatred for the Games' inept management and in their love for the event's one lasting legacy: an expanded metro system. It will take their combined effort to turn New Delhi's righteous anger into a sustained resolve to hold their leaders accountable. But the city has already taken the first step on that long and treacherous yellow brick road. Like Dorothy and her companions, New Delhi's residents may well find hidden reserves of wit, compassion and courage.
From Jyoti Thottam's scathing comment in TIME. More Here

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An open letter to Sonia Gandhi

Dear Mrs Gandhi,

Dr Manmohan Singh is believed to be one of the most honest prime ministers our country has had. But, ironically, he presides over arguably the most dishonest government machinery we have seen. The latest in the series of scams is the massive corruption in the Commonwealth Games. Despite charges of large-scale fund misuse and inefficient management, Suresh Kalmadi, almost defiantly, says he won’t step down till the PM or Sonia Gandhi asks him to do so. He seems to be confident that neither of you would ask him to step down!
The scale and arrogance of corruption in the Commonwealth Games is so bizarre that if it goes unpunished this time also, then there is no hope for this country. Both Dr Singh and you have said on several occasions that those involved in corruption in CWG will not be spared after the games. But which agency will investigate these cases?
.... .... ....

When corruption reached its peak in Hong Kong in the ’70s, it created an Independent Commission Against Corruption and gave it complete powers. The commission sacked 103 out of 107 police officers in one go. That sent a strong signal to the entire machinery. Such swift and effective action is needed in our country also, immediately.
You created history by renouncing the chair of the prime minister. We urge you to create effective systems in our country to rid this country of corruption.

From an open letter written by RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal in Outlook. More here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Babri Masjid case: It is Emotions Vs Evidence: Hashim Ansari

Hashim Ansari is ninety years old. He is the resident of Ayodhya and has been attached with the Babri Masjid for many decades. 
In an interview to Mumtaz Alam Falahi of Two he has summed up the Babri Masjid crisis in a single sentence : "Ek taraf bhavna hai. aur ek taraf suboot hai" (On one side we have emotions and on the other is pile of evidence")
He has also said, "We have evidence of more than 550 years". He blames Congress and the Muslim leaders of secular parties more than the frenzy fringe groups of Sangh Parivar. "Jaffer Shariff was the Railway Minister then. He organised special trains to Ayodhya."he laments.

Listen him in youtube:

Jazakallah Mumtaz Bhai!
Source : Twocircle.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Babri Masjid demolition was preplanned by L K Advani

Let’s go back to what really happened on December 6. When BJP leaders tell us that the masjid was demolished by a spontaneous outpouring of public emotion, they are knowingly telling lies. You cannot bring down a huge structure and then construct a makeshift temple on the same spot with your bare hands or on the basis of public anger. You need a plan and you need implements.

On December 6, eye witnesses and video cameramen saw a band of men in yellow bandanas advancing determinedly towards the temple. They had rappelling ropes that allowed them to climb to the top and possessed spades, shovels and other implements with which they broke the masjid’s walls.

The BJP’s government in UP — then headed by Kalyan Singh — had promised the courts and the Centre that its policemen would ensure that no implements or weapons of any kind were allowed near the Babri masjid. We know from photographic evidence that either Kalyan Singh and his policemen were so inept that kar sevaks were able to smuggle construction tools into the area under their eyes or — and this is more likely — that Kalyan Singh simply lied and that his policemen looked the other way when implements arrived.

Within minutes of the men in yellow bandanas approaching the masjid, another group of kar sevaks targeted journalists and cameramen. The BJP would claim later that this too was an example of spontaneous anger. In fact, it was a well- coordinated operation to prevent any photographs of the actual demolition being taken. By the time the demolition was well under way, the vast majority of journalists had fled for their lives.

Who were these men in yellow bandanas? I was editor of Sunday at the time and my deputy Rajiv Bagchi (now editor of the HT’s Calcutta edition) was in Ayodhya. Rajiv wrote about drills at which Sangh parivar members practised using ropes to reach the top of a building and rehearsed the demolition. In the HT a few days ago, Vijay Jung Thapa recalled being taken to see a similar exercise.

Clearly all that stuff about spontaneous anger was nonsense. This demolition was planned down to the tiniest detail (including the assaults on journalists to prevent us from photographing the men who carried it out) and executed with military precision. After they had broken the masjid, the kar sevaks actually built a makeshift temple on the spot. Nobody can spontaneously generate cement from anger. Obviously the kar sevaks had brought everything required for the operation to the site.

CBI officers investigating the demolition came and spoke to such journalists as Rajiv Bagchi. I remember handing over photographs from the Sunday library that showed Kalyan Singh’s policemen helping kar sevaks cross the so-called police barriers.

I believed that one way or the other the Centre’s investigative agencies would crack the mystery of who it was that actually brought down the Babri masjid. I believed that they would uncover the conspiracy and identify the conspirators.
I was wrong. Nobody has been identified.

Then, I believed that Justice Liberhan who spent Rs 9 crore of taxpayers’ money and took 17 years to inquire into the demolition would tell us who the men in the yellow bandanas were and explain how the operation had been undertaken.
No such luck. The Liberhan report is a poorly written version of the kind of agitated editorials we were all writing in the week after the demolition. I’m sure the judge has enjoyed his 17 years at government expense.

I don’t wish to make too much of Advani’s pious hand-rubbing or his crocodile tears. But the furore about the demolition should serve to remind us that no matter how reasonable BJP leaders may seem on television, at the heart of the parivar, there lurks a nasty fascist core.

These are the religious soldiers who brought down the Babri masjid. Seventeen years later, we still don’t know who they are. And they lurk in the shadows, waiting for another opportunity.

From Vir Sanghvi's take on Babri Masjid in Hindustan Times. More Here

கொதிப்பின் கடைசிப் புள்ளி

காஷ்மீரில் நடப்பது பயங்கரவாதக் கலவரம் போலவும், மதரீதியான பதற்றமாகவுமே, காஷ்மீர் அல்லாத இந்தியப் பகுதிகளில் தோற்றங்கள் உருவாக்கப்படுகின்றன. அப்படித்தான் என்பதாகவும் பெரும்பான்மையோர் நினைக்கின்றனர். “தொடர்ச்சியான கடையடைப்புகள் நடந்த வண்ணம் இருக்கின்றன. அரசு நிர்வாகம் அறிவிக்கும் ஊரடங்கு உத்தரவுகளை மக்கள் மறுத்து வெளியே வருகிறார்கள் காவல்துறையினரின் துப்பாக்கிக் குண்டுகளை நேருக்கு நேர் எதிர்கொள்கிறார்கள். பெண்களும், குழந்தைகளும் தெருவில் வந்து போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபடுகிறார்கள். இதனை நீங்கள் எப்படி விளக்குவீர்கள்?” என கேட்கிறார் முகமது யூசுப் தாரிகாமி (சி.பி.எம் மாநிலச் செயலாளர்). குமுறி, கொந்தளித்துப் போயிருக்கின்றனர் அங்குள்ள மக்கள் என்பதை இந்த தேசத்தின் அரசும், அனைத்து மக்களும் இப்போதாவது புரிந்துகொண்டாக வேண்டும். ‘தூண்டுதல்கள்’ என வசதியான ஒரு சொல்லாடலுக்குள் ஒளிந்துகொண்டு அரசு ‘திருவிளையாடல்களை’ செய்துகொண்டு இனியும் காலத்தைத் தள்ள முடியாது. ‘எப்போதும் போல’ இப்பிரச்சினையை குரங்கின் அப்பமாகக்  கையாண்டால் நிலைமைகள் மேலும் மோசமடையவேச் செய்யும்.

காஷ்மீரின் வரலாறு குறித்துப் பேசும்போது, அந்த மண்ணின் மக்களுக்கு இழைக்கப்பட்ட துரோகங்களே முக்கிய அத்தியாயங்களாய் இடம்பெறும். மாறி, மாறி வந்த ஆட்சிகளால், அந்த மக்கள் வஞ்சிக்கப்பட்ட கதைகளை வெளியே பெரிதாய் இங்கு பேசுவதில்லை. இந்தியா, பாகிஸ்தானின் அரசியலுக்குள் அந்த காஷ்மீர் மக்களின் வாழ்க்கை சிதைந்து போனதைக் காட்டுவதில்லை.  ஒரு சில சம்பவங்களை பெரிது பெரிதாய் காட்டி, அங்கிருக்கும் முஸ்லீம்கள் அனைவருமே தீவீரவாதிகள் போலவும், பயங்கரவாதிகள் போலவும் இந்திய ஊடகங்களால் வெற்றிகரமாக சித்தரிக்கப்பட்டு வருகின்றனர். இந்திய பாதுகாப்புப் படையின் வரம்பற்ற அதிகாரத்தின் கீழ் அவர்கள் கண்காணிக்கப்படுகின்றனர். அவர்கள் அனைவருமே சந்தேகத்துக்குரிய பிரஜைகளாகி இருக்கின்றனர். அந்த சாதாரண மக்களின் உணர்வுகளும், உரிமைகளும் ‘மதம்’, ’பயங்கரவாதம்’, ‘தேசப் பாதுகாப்பு’ என்று சொல்லிச் சொல்லியே தட்டிக் கழிக்கப்பட்டன. அவைகள்தாம் இன்று பெருங்கோபமாய் கிளர்ந்து நிற்கிறது.

மூன்று அப்பாவி இளைஞர்களை பாதுகாப்புப் படையினர் விசாரணைக்கு அழைத்துச் சென்று  கொல்லப்பட்டதைத் தொடர்ந்தே இந்த வன்முறை வெடித்தது. கொதிப்பின் கடைசிப் புள்ளி இது. இத்தனை நாளும் அவர்கள் எப்படி உள்ளுக்குள் பொங்கிப் போயிருந்தார்கள் என்பது வெளிச்சத்திற்கு வந்திருக்கிறது. அதன் ஒரு பகுதியை அறிய, இந்த ஆவணப்படத்தைப் பாருங்கள்.

From Madhavraj's gripping narration in  தீராத பக்கங்கள்
To view the documentary film "Waiting..." by Atul Gupta on Kashmir's half widows click here.

Babri Masjid, Muslims, Hindus and Basharat Peer

IN THE AFTERNOON of 6 December 1992, Tariq Masood, a ninth-grade student in Gorakhpur, western Uttar Pradesh, saw the television go black in the middle of a Doordarshan news bulletin. The electricity in the town was cut off for the rest of the day and the batteries in their radio were dead. A few hundred kilometres away, thousands of karsevaks led by various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers had converged on the disputed site of Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi. Gorakhpur was under curfew. A phone call broke the news that the karsevaks had destroyed the Babri Mosque. Tariq sat quietly by his lawyer father, numb, watching him repeat the same words, “There must be a mistake. They must be lying.” In the days following 6 December, India was torn apart by a series of riots, which killed around 2,000 people, mostly Muslims. “For many years the destruction of the Babri Masjid shaped my life,” Tariq, now a 32-year-old IT consultant, told me when we met recently in Delhi’s Zakir Nagar area. “We went into a huddle. My father’s Hindu friends stopped inviting us home and we stopped inviting them to our ceremonies. I had no Hindu friends for years.”

After 17 years, 400 meetings, and 80 million rupees, the Liberhan Commission came out with its 1,029 page report in December, blaming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for organising the demolition of the mosque and naming 60 BJP, RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Riotous scenes followed in the parliament for a few days, but the commission’s disclosures were hardly a revelation. Videos of Atal Bihari Vajpayee inciting a crowd of karsevaks at a Lucknow rally on 5 December, two days before the masjid’s demolition, have become staples on YouTube. Soon after the Liberhan report was made public, VHP leader Vinay Katiyar bragged to a television channel that 6 December 1992 was the “proudest day of my life.” Katiyar’s voice seemed to have an edge of desperation, a world away from the confidence of the 1990s, when he was a man journalists wanted to interview, when the Ram Temple movement had its last burst of fervour. He reminded me of March 2002, when a few weeks after the Gujarat pogrom, Ramchandra Paramhans, who headed the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas Trust, was leading thousands of karsevaks from across India in an attempt to defy a Supreme Court ban on construction at the disputed site by laying a foundation stone for the Ram Temple.

I had travelled to Ayodhya, along with hundreds of other journalists. The city was barricaded and flooded with policemen, but hordes of karsevaks were sneaking in and converging there. The atmosphere was frenetic with slogans of “Jai Shree Ram” and “Ram Lalla Jaynege, Mandir Wahin Banayenge.” Ramchandra Paramhans, a robust man with long matted hair and an ageing prize fighter’s body, held regular press conferences in the Karsevakpuram compound, a couple of kilometres from the disputed site. Paramhans headed the militant Digambhar Akhara and was instrumental in installing a statue of Ram under the dome of the Babri mosque in 1949 and initiated in 1950 the legal battle to reclaim the Babri Masjid for the Hindus. “Even if Bhagwan Rama comes and says he was not born in Ayodhya, I will not believe him,” Paramhans was famously quoted as saying. Paramhans was a confident yet mercurial man, giving assurances of peaceful conduct one moment, telling jokes the other, and soon after threatening to drink poison and kill himself if he was not allowed to carry the foundation stones to the disputed site.

Scores of craftsmen worked full time, chiselling floral designs and figurines of Ram on the pink sandstone slabs that would come together to form the Ram Temple. Vajpayee was the prime minister, the worldwide condemnation of the Gujarat pogrom a fortnight earlier and the complexities of being in power had tamed the BJP. After a long series of negotiations, Paramhans’ boys were allowed a token ceremony, wherein a crowd of sadhus and four ten year-old boys from a Hindu gurukul led the procession carrying a sandstone slab from the temple workshop to a place near the disputed site, where they were made to hand over the stones to district authorities. “All we need is 24 hours and a few machines can put the temple together,” one heard often those days.

Seven years later, on a foggy December morning in 2009, I drove from Lucknow to Ayodhya to see what remained of that old fervour for the Ram temple. The repeated defeats of the BJP in the elections seemed to suggest the end of a phase of Hindu nationalism, anti-Muslim rhetoric and riots – from the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 to the massacres of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Over the last few years, there has been much talk about India’s great power status and the surge in its economy. Thousands of Indian professionals based in the United States have returned home to cash in on the boom. India is pushing aggressively on the world stage, trying to make its presence felt through investments in Africa and buying influence in Afghanistan by providing trillions of rupees in aid and helping build infrastructure, sending sophisticated scientific expeditions to Antarctica and producing even more expensive movies. I wondered: how do India’s Muslims relate to the New India? Were they finding a way to a share in the growing economy? Had they made peace with the ghosts of Babri? Did they see an end to the rampant suspicion and arrests in the name of anti-terrorism measures? I decided to travel to a few cities and towns in Uttar Pradesh, where 31 million of India’s 154 million Muslims live to gauge how much the recent past mattered, how they saw the present and hear their hopes for a future. 

From Basharat Peer's piece in Caravan. More Here

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hindu School celebrates Eid-ul-Fitr

In an exemplary show of secularism and communal harmony, a school managed by a Hindu trust organized a program on Ramazan on Monday (Sep 6, 2010) for students between classes VIII and XII. Mr. A. Faizur Rahman, Secretary General of the Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought among Muslims was invited as the chief guest to delivera lecture on Islam. Explaining the necessity to hold such a function the correspondent of the Srimathi Sundaravalli Memorial School Mr. K. Santhanam said that it was the cherished goal of his institution to inculcate among the young student community the values if peace, tolerance and respect for all religions. He said that the Ramazan celebration was the first of a series programs on different religions the school plans to hold every year.

In his lecture Mr. A. Faizur Rahman said that Islam is not the name of a set of dogmas revolving around a personal god who needs to be appeased from time to time through superstitious rituals. The word “Islam” has two meaningsnamely, “peace” and submission to the will of the Creator.” In other words, Islam is the peace derived by surrendering to the will of God. The aim of Islam is to unite mankind under the laws of a single Creator based on which the entire universe functions. These laws can also be described as the common value system that finds acceptance in all societies. For example, values such as justice, fairness and equity are universally recognised as good, and vices such as murder, fraud and thievery are considered evil by all. The first set of values is described by the Quran as ma’roof and the second set is called the munkar. All that Islam expects of people is the promotion of ma’roof and the prohibition of munkar and this is to be achieved through the means of the five pillars namely, the recognition of one God, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat and Haj. Therefore, Islam can also be called a movement that strives to establish a peaceful society on the basis of shared values, Mr. Rahman explained.

The lecture was followed by a 30-minute interactive discussion during which Mr. Rahman answered questions on Islam raised by thestudents . Lauding the initiative of the school Mr. Faizur Rahman said that the idea of inter-faith dialogue must be encouraged in all educational institution as it would prepare the youth of this country to withstand and defeat the divisive agenda of religious extremists.
The lecture was preceded by a song in praise of Prophet Muhammad and speeches by students on the significance of fasting during Ramazan. 
Ms. Sreevidya, Educational Officer and Mr. S. Santhanam, Senior Principal spoke.

Source : Two circles

Iftar meet in Hindu Temple!

In a unique gesture of secular culture, the administration committee of Baikampadi Sri Sarala Dhoomavathi Daivasthana of 7th Block, Krishnapura hosted a rare iftar party at the temple premises in association with Youth Wing of Jama’ath-e-Islami Hind, Krishnapura Circle on Sunday.

Iftar party at a Hindu temple? That too in Krishnapura? Yes, the people of Krishnapura, a sensitive coastal town which has been hogging the limelight for wrong reasons such as communal riots, attacks, curfews and tensions for many years, have now sent a message of peace, religious harmony and co-existence to the entire coastal Karnataka.

Let thousand flowers bloom...

Nearly two hundred Hindus and Muslims got together and promised each other to strive towards establishing peace in the entire town. “This time your number is in hundreds. Next year it will increase to thousands”, said S Pramod Bhandari, President of Temple in a highly emotional tone. “Humanity, love and brotherhood are the core elements of religion. If we are truly religious and pious people we have to bridge the gap between the followers of different religions.”, he said.

A true Muslim is the one....

Muhammad Kunnhi, Manager of Shanthi Prakashana in his presidential address called upon the gathering to become the true followers of the original messages of the religion, which preaches mankind to live with harmony. Talking about the month of Ramadan and fasting, Kunnhi said that a person should cultivate self control through fasting. “A Muslim cannot be a true Muslim if he cannot control his bad emotions”, he said. 
On the same occasion Kannada translations of holy Qur’an were distributed to the Hindu guests.

Sayeed Ismaeel delivered the introductory address. B A Muhammad Ali welcomed and compered the programme. Girishe, Secretary of the Temple, proposed the vote of thanks. Haji Mumthaz Ali, Chairman, Al-Badriya English Medium School, Belliyappa, Circle Inspector, Suratkal, Yatheesh Baikampadi, social activist, Hamza, former Principal of Badriya PU College, Thilakraj, Corporator were among those present.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pakistan's shame

It is the most shameful moment in the history of cricket. Shame on Pakistan. Here is the video depicting the shameful event. The greed with which the guy gets the wads of currency from the 'dealer' is disgusting. Pakistan cricket team should be banned from playing.

And this has happened in the blessed month of Ramazan! Look at the eyes of the guy. They are full of greed. Look at his stretched hands. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said: "The upper hand is better than the lower hand" This man has lowered his hand with ulterior motives.

Betting, gambling and speculation are banned in Islam. How come betting and gambling thrives in Muslim societies? It is very sad. It is very bad. It is madness.

It is not exclusive to Pakistan alone. Indians too have been involved in spot fixing and match fixing for many many decades.India’s greatest cricket writer, Prem Panicker, managing editor of Yahoo! India, says that spot-fixing, like match-fixing, isn’t quite a 21st century phenomenon but a 20th century one. He writes in his blog:
There was once an opening batsman known as much for his impeccable technique as for his preternatural sense of the ebbs and flows, the rhythms, of Test cricket. The way he constructed an innings was both masterclass and template: the early watchfulness, the constant use of the well placed single to get away from strike and go to the other end, from where he could observe the behavior of pitch and bowler, the imperceptible change of gears and then, as the lunch interval loomed, the gradual down-shifting of gears as commentators marveled: ‘He is pulling down the shutters… he knows it is important not to give away his wicket just before the break… the onus is on him to return after the break and build his innings all over again… the man is a master of focus…’
I followed along, on radio first and later, on television, and I marveled along with the commentators, the experts. And then, years later, I heard a story — of how, when the toss went the way of his team and this opener went out to bat on the first day of a Test, a close relative would bet with not one, but several, bookies, about whether the batsman would get to 50 before lunch. Or not. ‘So he would get to 45 or so, and there would be 20 minutes to go before lunch, and he would defend like hell, and all these experts would talk about how he is downing shutters for lunch when the fact was, there was a lot of money riding on his not getting 50 before the break,’ is a paraphrase of what one of the bookies who suffered from such well-placed bets said.
That is just one story, of the dozens that come your way once you become a journalist, and gain entree into the Kabuki world of cricket.

 More Here.

Tipu Sultan, rocket technology and the British

It is amazing. Here is a gripping narration of the rocket technology adopted by the legendary freedom fighter Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan is the only monarch in the history of India to have laid his life for the cause of freedom. 


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